excerpt from 'Reminiscences of the Opera' pp. 122-3 (306 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of the Opera' pp. 122-3 (306 words)

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Reminiscences of the Opera

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On the night of Saturday, the 26th April, Signor Mario appeared as the Almaviva of the "Barbiere”; but only to disappear in the very first scene. An apology was made for "huskiness," and he again came on, omitting his "aria." Discontent began to be manifest. The "Rosina" (Madame Grisi) came forward, but commenced her air in such "admired disorder," that further manifestations of disapprobation arose. The prima donna, in her turn, came to a stand-still, and confronted the audience with wrathful brow. The jollity of Lablache for a time restored something like composure: at the commencement of the celebrated finale, however, Almaviva having reappeared, and murmurs having been again heard, the indignant tenor left the stage, to return no more that evening. The inimitable humour of Lablache, expressed at this sudden flight, restored the audience to good temper by its irresistible comicality. Another apology was made — Signor Corelli had been sent for; and after some delay, the opera proceeded, with Corelli as the Almaviva of the night. An angry correspondence ensued between the management and the offending tenor: I, on my part, protesting that with but a slight display of good will, Signor Mario might have spared such an indignity to the subscribers and the public — the recalcitrant tenor imperatively asserting that on his part with failing voice, and the burden of public disapprobation, he was wholly dans ses droits in leaving the stage abruptly. The breach between the management and two artists, with whom it was difficult to negotiate, and whom it was next to impossible to control, was thus widened more and more; until, with other elements of discontent (not apparently prominent until the ensuing season) the chasm became so wide and deep, so impossible to bridge over by concession, that a rupture was positively looked forward to as a relief.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of the Opera' pp. 122-3 (306 words)


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